tldr; WE. ARE. FAMILY. except when we play games.
After our two weeks in Moab, we loaded up on groceries, waved goodbye to Moab, and headed to Duck Creek Village to spend a week with my (Alayna) parents. Duck Creek Village is a small, snowy mountain town and was the perfect spot for our visit, situated just between Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.
We were excited to relax and explore together after not having seen each other since Choi and I hit the road just after our wedding. We reunited at a cabin on Thursday evening, gave each other big hugs, ate baked potatoes, caught up on our adventures, and they laughed at how dirty Choi and I were (day 3 of no showers after a full week of hiking and biking in Moab).
Friday and Monday, Choi and I had to work so my parents took off on their own during the day to explore, meeting us back at the cabin in the evenings for dinner and games. In case you haven’t caught on yet, we are big game people. My parents brought us Rummikub, Phase Ten, Set, For Sale, and a new game called You Got Got. Unsurprisingly, we played each of these games at least once during our 6 day visit.
We all woke up early on Saturday morning to catch our shuttle to the Angels Landing trailhead in Zion. The views along the winding road were breathtaking, with towering pink and beige striped rocky cliffs and valleys on both sides.
We started our hike to Angels Landing just as the sky started to brighten, it was beautiful to watch the colors of the mountains change as we hiked higher and higher. The trail was steeply uphill the whole way, culminating in a narrow ridge 1,000 ft from the valley floor with chains to hold onto for support. The hike itself wouldn’t have been too frightening except for the two-way traffic with people of varying hiking comfort levels going up and down the trail and passing by at narrow points on the ridge. We managed to make it to the top though and enjoyed the incredible view for a while before heading back down to a lower viewpoint for lunch.
It was still early in the day after our hike up Angels Landing so we did another short hike to emerald pools (not quite so emerald this time of year but a nice hike nonetheless) and took a trail along the river back to our shuttle. We made it back to our cabin with time for pizza and games to finish up the night.
Sunday morning we headed to Bryce Canyon. The drive to Bryce was incredible, with views ranging from wide plains to arches, forests, and hoodoos. The park was quiet when we arrived at 8am, a serene contrast to the busy trails and parking lots of Zion.
We decided to explore Bryce via the 6.5 mile “Figure Eight Trail” that hit the highlights of several different routes throughout the canyon. The trail took us down among the hoodoos where we could see the individuality of each one, and back up to viewpoints where we could see hoodoos and canyons and even mountains off in the distance. It was a tiring hike, especially with our weary legs from Angels Landing, but it was well worth it.
After our hike, we ate lunch at the edge of the canyon and did a quick drive to some viewpoints before heading back to the cabin for (you guessed it) more food and games.
Monday was our last full day together at Duck Creek Village. My parents took the day to explore Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM), where we would be staying later in the week. When they got back, we all went on a walk together on some ATV trails not far from our cabin. The trail was much snowier than I had anticipated and we tromped and stumbled through knee-deep snow on our quest to find a pond. Eventually we reached the (very frozen) pond, took a selfie, and followed the trail back, with a few trips face-first into the snow, snowball fights, and tackles into the snow along the way. Once we got back and warmed up, we spent our final evening together full of food-eating and game-playing.
Tuesday morning, we had a final brunch together at Duck Creek Village’s second restaurant, Aunt Sue’s Chalet, before parting ways. My parents headed off to the airport in Las Vegas, and we hit the road to Escalante later that afternoon.
Duck Creek Village, we love your cozy cabins that are perfect for games, you location tucked between two incredible National Parks, and that you’re the perfect meeting place for family. Along We Go!